In the Stadswandelingen podcast, the students behind Erasmus Verbindt do something a little out of the ordinary. They walk through the city. While doing so, they are joined by academics as well as poets, politicians, people who work in the port and other Rotterdammers. The podcasters’ objective is to highlight what issues people in the city are concerned about and how scientists can help solve these issues.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/2bpi04V0IGIPzXReVFrUcX?si=1fee705572364efc
Listen here to the promo of the podcast City Walks Source: open.spotify.com

All too often, says Max Wagenaar, who initiated the podcast, cities and their universities are two distinct entities (the age-old ‘town and gown’ dichotomy). “We wish to make science more accessible by means of this podcast”, says the philosophy student. “So we’ll be going on walks. This will make knowledge of the city more specific, more tangible and so more palpable. Questions such as ‘how will all these plans to construct more new houses affect the people who have lived here for several generations’ take on more meaning when you’re waiting for a traffic light to turn green in Tweebosbuurt.”

Bestuur Erasmus Verbindt – Eddie, Emma en Max

‘Erasmus Verbindt’ reduces gap between science and the city of Rotterdam

Poverty, inequality of opportunity, obesity, loneliness and climate change. Rotterdam and…

700 students

The podcast, which was established a year and a half ago, is ‘growing fast’, says Wagenaar. To him, it makes perfect sense that science and society should go hand in hand. “A lot of attention is paid to philosophy of science at the Erasmus School of Philosophy. Truckloads of philosophers of science have written about the importance of combining science and society. That is what inspired us, a group of students.” In 2019, Wagenaar came up with the idea of Erasmus Verbindt, a year later the project was officially launched, and now hundreds of students are involved.

“This year we have more than seven hundred students working to solve the challenges our society is facing. They do so at several organisations that seek to make the city a better place. They work at councillors’ departments, schools, projects designed to make the city more sustainable, and many other organisations. Our own organisation has grown tremendously, as well. We started out with just the three of us. Now there are more than forty of us – students attending all the various faculties. This podcast is the result of fantastic collaboration between all of us. We got on fabulously.”

Podcast Erasmus Verbindt_eigen beeld_2
Dean Bowen (right) is interviewed by Erasmus Verbindt during her walk through the city. Image credit: Erasmus Verbindt

Sounds of the city

Erasmus Verbindt sought professional help from a podcasting agency to edit the recordings. The students performed the interviews, preparations and final edit themselves. A student attending the Codarts conservatoire created compositions out of the sounds of the city. These will be included in the podcast.

The first episode, which deals with gentrification, will be published on Tuesday, 1 March. It will feature the criminologist Gwen van Eijk and Dean Bowen, the poet laureate of the city of Rotterdam, among other people. A new episode will be published every fortnight. The first season will comprise seven episodes.